pair of compasses
Also found in: Thesaurus, Legal, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
Related to pair of compasses: protractor
pair of compasses
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
1. an instrument for determining directions, as by means of a freely rotating magnetized needle that indicates magnetic north.
2. Often, compasses. an instrument for drawing or describing circles, measuring distances, etc., consisting generally of two hinged, movable legs (often used with pair of).
3. the enclosing line or limits of any area; perimeter.
4. space within limits; scope: the broad compass of the novel.
5. the total range of tones of a voice or of a musical instrument.
6. due or proper limits; moderate bounds: to act within the compass of propriety.
7. a passing round; circuit: the compass of a year.adj.
8. curved; forming a curve or arc: a compass roof.v.t.
9. to go or move around; make the circuit of: to compass the city on foot.
10. to extend or stretch around; surround; encircle: A stone wall compasses the property.
11. to attain or achieve; accomplish; obtain.
12. to contrive; plot; scheme.
13. to make curved or circular.
14. to comprehend; grasp, as with the mind.
[1250–1300; (v.) Middle English < Old French compasser to measure < Vulgar Latin *compāssāre, v. derivative of *compāssus equal step (Latin com- com- + pāssus pace1); (n.) Middle English < Old French, derivative of compasser]
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.